News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th October 2011

The Peter Hall Company/Theatre Royal Bath production of Alan Bennett's The Madness Of George III, the epic play combining drama, politics and humour into a vivid theatrical portrait of 18th century English history, with David Haig, Clive Francis, Beatie Edney and Madhav Sharma, directed by Christopher Luscombe, which is currently touring, will transfer to the Apollo Theatre, opening on 23rd January.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, a stage version of David Seidler's A King's Speech, about George VI's struggle to overcome his stammer, written before the film but so far unproduced, with Charles Edwards and Jonathan Hyde, directed by Adrian Noble, will open a prospective pre West End tour at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford on 1st February. The producers are Playful Productions and Michael Alden Productions.

The National Theatre's Annual Report for 2010/2011, reveals that it had a good year financially, producing a surplus of 387,000, and attendances of 1.6m, which represented 90% of capacity, largely due to the West End transfer of War Horse (which achieved 97% capacity), and the new production One Man, Two Guvnors, which is also West End bound. The National's income was 70.6m, 48% of which was from box office receipts and 28% from Arts Council funding. There were 25 productions, 9 of those being new plays, with 1,503 performances. The programme of streaming productions live to cinemas saw 8 shows attract an audience of 145,000 in the Britain and 215,000 overseas The development plans for the building, which include a new education centre next to the Cottesloe theatre's extended foyer, plus a new bar and dining area, designed by Haworth Tompkins, are now in the detailed design phase, with 30m of the 70m funding raised so far.

New York TheatreNet: The current Stratford Shakespeare Festival Ontario production of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, chronicling the last seven days in the life of Jesus of Nazereth, featuring Paul Nolan, Josh Young, Chilina Kennedy, Brent Carver and Bruce Dow, directed by Des McAnuff, with choreography by Lisa Shriver, will transfer to Broadway, opening at the Neil Simon Theatre on March 22nd; and the Center Theater Group Los Angeles production of the musical Funny Girl, book by Isobel Lennart, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill, which traces the early life of 20th century stage, screen and radio star Fanny Brice, with Lauren Ambrose and Bobby Cannavale, directed by Bartlett Sher, with musical staging by Christopher Gattelli, will also transfer to Broadway, opening at the Imperial Theatre in April. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Henrik Ibsen's The Lady From The Sea, about a wife's crisis when a former lost fiancee returns, with Joely Richardson, directed by Stephen Unwin, will open at the Rose Theatre in Kingston on 28th February.

On The Casting Couch: Imogen Stubbs, Anna Calder-Marshall, Anna Carteret and Roger Evans will feature in Tim Price's Salt, Root And Roe, opening at Trafalgar Studios 2 on 14th November; Eddie Redmayne and Andrew Buchan will be joined by Ron Cook, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Harry Attwell and Michael Hadley in Shakespeare's Richard II, opening at the Donmar Warehouse on 6th December: and Celia Imrie, Janie Dee, Robert Glenister and Jamie Glover will head the cast of Michael Frayn's Nosies Off, opening at the Old Vic Theatre on 13th December.

World Stages London, a collaboration between Battersea Arts Centre, Bush Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith, Royal Court, Sadler's Wells, Somerset House, Theatre Royal Stratford East and the Young Vic, celebrating the capital's cultural diversity, will be staged next summer. It will include Jung Chang's Wild Swans, charting the history of China from the Communist Revolution to Super Power status, adapted by Alexandra Wood, directed by Sacha Wares, with choreography by Leon Baugh, opening at the Young Vic on 20th April; The Suit, adapted by Barney Simon and Mothobi Mutloatse from Le Costume by Can Themba, set in South Africa, where a man insists his wife treat her lover's suit as an honoured guest, directed by Peter Brook and Marie Helene Estienne, opening at the Young Vic on 23rd May; Simon Stephens's Three Kingdoms, a thriller exploring human trafficking and the vice trade, directed by Sebastian Nuebling, opening at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith on 7th May; Babel, a site specific outdoor community production inspired by the biblical tale of the tower of Babel with a cast of 500, directed by Bill Mitchell, opening on 10th May; and Tanika Gupta's Wah! Wah! Girls, using the world of the Mujra dancers to tell a passionate and playful story of love against the odds in London's East End, directed by Emma Rice, with choreography by Javed Sanadi, opening at the Peacock Theatre on 28th May.

The London Palladium is to offer a monthly 'in depth' tour of the building, lasting a minimum of 2 hours, with the route varying according to daily activities. With displays of memorabilia throughout the building celebrating its rich heritage and the stars that have appeared on its stage, the tour will take in areas not usually open to the public, as well as the new facilities and areas refurbished as part of the recent centenary celebrations.

Now that the season of performances has drawn to a close, Shakespeare's Globe moves indoors to its Education Centre, to continue Read Not Dead, its programme of staged readings of rarely performed Elizabethan plays on Sunday afternoons at 3pm. These comprise George Chapman's Banquet Of Sence, in which Ovid courts his beloved, asking her to permit him an experience of each of the five senses, on 9th October; Thomas Tomkis's Lingua, in which there is a competition between the physical senses in order to create a hierarchy among them, on 23rd October; and William Shakespeare and John Fletcher's The History Of Cardino, inspired by the publication of Cervantes's Don Quixote, recreated by Gary Taylor, on 20th November. Each reading is preceded at 12noon by an introduction to its background by Diana Devlin.